The following is a direct excerpt from Marty’s Bent Issue #1248: “The privacy wars have escalated.” Subscribe to the newsletter here.
The US Treasury decided to come out of the woodwork and send a shot across the bow of the “crypto” industry yesterday by adding the Ethereum-powered open source privacy project Tornado Cash to the list of sanctioned entities. In the process, the department highlighted a few things: the US federal government is determined to ensure that American citizens are fully surveilled and subdued; altcoin projects are not as decentralized as advertised; and while Bitcoin is significantly more immune to these types of attacks compared to altcoin projects, complacency is not an option. There are many things that can be done to ensure that the network is as robust as possible in the face of state efforts to curb bitcoin adoption and use.
Just days after a bill was introduced in the Senate giving it the green light recruitment and armament of 87,000 tax collectors to harass and shake down middle and lower class Americans for the few pennies left to their name and less than 24 hours after the FBI raided the home of a former president for the belief that it was hosting National Archive Files, the Treasury Department decided to give the hammer to those looking to achieve some sense of privacy while using Ethereum. The sequence of events may be written off as completely disconnected by some, but to your crazy uncle Marty, this looks like a coordinated effort to try to further demoralize the masses, punish those who go against the narrative and threaten the control that the unproductive class enjoys, while scaring those of us who have decided to break out of the broken system using alternative systems like Bitcoin.
When empires weaken, they despair, and when they despair, they put their desire for control before any sense of logic, decency or justice. The federal government has completely discredited itself and should be reduced to the size of a mall kiosk ASAP. There is no greater threat to freedom on the planet than the unaccountable federal government and intelligence agencies that actually run things behind the scenes.
In adding Tornado Cash to the sanctions list, the Treasury Department highlighted many shortcomings of the Ethereum ecosystem that claims to be decentralized. Almost immediately, services like Alchemy and Infura – centralized API companies and node infrastructure leveraged by many companies and individuals who “use” Ethereum – cut off their users’ access to the Tornado Cash contract.
Infrastructure companies weren’t the only ones to bend the knee. Coinbase along with USDC, the centralized stablecoin offered by Circle and used in much of the Ethereum “DeFi” space, blacklisted any address associated with the Tornado Cash contract.
This is all to be expected due to the centralized nature of these services and the carelessness with which the people driving Ethereum approach the distribution of their network. Bitcoiners have been warning for years that the offsets made by those making mETH would come back to bite them in the ass when state attacks heat up like they do now.
While this kind of censorship is to be expected from centralized services like Alchemy, Infura, and USDC, it was truly shocking to see that GitHub decided to completely remove the accounts of developers who contributed to Tornado Cash.
This shows that it is important not to rely on centralized third parties to coordinate the building and distribution of the open source code that your project is based on. If the Treasury Department can do it to Tornado Cash, they can do it to Samourai Wallet, JoinMarket, and even Bitcoin Core repositories and contributors. Alternatives to GitHub should be used as soon as humanly possible. The Samourai team seems to have thought about this attack vector and resorted to mirroring their code in an open source GitLab repository in case they ever fall prey to a similar attack.
More of that.
The stakes have never been higher. The state is losing control of the people and doubles, triples and quadruples due to incompetence and absolute nefariousness. As it continues to fail, it will continue to shake more violently. Aiming at those of us who simply want to be left alone and try to achieve this by accessing and using tools that are outside of the state’s control.
The war on the common man has intensified significantly this week. Are you ready to peacefully stand up and fight, declaring “enough is enough” and using the tools that will lead you to freedom? I’m sure.